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I’m a huge fan of middle grade books. They have so much heart and imagination and humor. Middle grade takes up a giant section on my bookshelf and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Here are my top 10 middle grade book recommendations (in no particular order):
1. Wonder by RJ Palacio
Why I Love It: This book really made me think. And it has multiple amazing messages for kids, but rather than beating them into readers’ minds, they were understated. Which made them have a big impact.
Favorite Thing: The first page. Seriously. It grips you!
Quote: “I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”
2. Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry
Why I Love It: This book was told from dual perspectives (a boy and a girl). The boy wrote in prose and the girl wrote in verse. And I LOVE books in verse.
Favorite Thing: The cover. Seriously…do you see that thing? Beautiful.
Quote: “I could say sorry for what I did, keep on keeping them inside–my feelings. But what good has that ever done?”
3. Some Kind of Happiness by Claire LeGrand
Why I Love It: I wanted to reach through the pages and grab little Finley and tell her she wasn’t weird or broken or messed up. This book made me feel REAL emotion because the main character, Finley Hart, was REAL to me.
Favorite Thing: The imaginative nature of the book. It created a whole other layer to the story.
Quote: “Even after everything else has gone wrong, pancakes still smell the same.”
4. A Night Divided by Jennifer Nielsen
Why I Love It: The story was suspenseful and moving and informative. I couldn’t put this one down.
Favorite Thing: The setting. This is a historical fiction and I felt like I was really there in Berlin in the 1960s.
Quote: “If I don’t stand for freedom, then I must sit in chains.”
5. Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
Why I Love It: This book is inspiring and really makes you think about the impact a teacher has on students, as well as the part we all play in various situations in life. It’s definitely a tear-jerker.
Favorite Thing: The story is told from several perspectives of students in Mr. Terupt’s class. Rob Buyea was somehow able to distinguish each character’s voice, and that is a remarkable feat.
Quote: “If you love someone, you don’t quit on them just because they make a mistake.”
6. The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
Why I Love It: This is a wonderful story about grief and how we deal with it. It was heart-wrenching and beautiful and fun.
Favorite Thing: The whole underlying thread about the jellyfish was fascinating to me. What an amazing metaphor to use!
Quote: “Sometimes you want things to change so badly, you can’t even stand to be in the same room with the way things actually are.”
7. Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Why I Love It: This book teaches kids that everyone has potential. And it teaches adults to find the potential in every child and help them see it in themselves.
Favorite Thing: Mr. Daniels. I just love him!
Quote: “Great minds don’t think alike.”
8. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Why I Love It: This book made me think and all the elements were perfectly woven together. I’m still not sure how Rebecca Stead pulled it off.
Favorite Thing: The time travel element added to this thought-provoking book. It was so fun!
Quote: “It’s crazy the things a person can pretend not to notice.”
9. Paperboy by Vince Vawter
Why I Love It: The way the main character’s stutter was handled. It was brilliantly done.
Favorite Thing: The slight element of suspense.
Quote: “Words in the air blow away as soon as you say them, but words on paper last forever.”
10. Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by Alan Silberberg
Why I Love It: This book wasn’t at all what I expected and that made it so much better!
Favorite Thing: Milo. He was such a great main character. I wish he were real so I could give him a hug!
Quote: “I’ve watched kids getting their foreheads kissed and kids being yelled at inside their cars, and every time I wish I were the kid who still had the mom, no matter how mean or sad or angry she might be. That mom is better than no mom, though my mom is who I miss most.”
Which books are on your middle grade favorites list?